Infiniti Moves Back to Japan

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
infiniti moves back to japan

Nissan Motor Co’s premium brand, Infiniti, will relocate back to Japan as part of the automaker’s commitment to restructuring its business in a post-Ghosn existence. The luxury arm was moved to Hong Kong in 2012 in order to better prepare itself for entry into the Chinese market. However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand.

Considering most of the R&D work stayed in Japan and Chinese growth has been slow, representing about one-tenth the annual volume Cadillac sees in the market, this is likely wise decision. Infiniti claims it can maintain its focus on China from Japan while also prioritizing America — where it sells far more vehicles. Meanwhile, Nissan also hopes to regain control over its own operation after posting a rather ugly earnings report earlier this month. The financial hurt is expected to spill over into next year.

As a byproduct of the move, Nissan also feels that it will be in a better position to electrify the brand. “This connection is crucial as Infiniti ramps up development of its battery electric and e-Power offerings,” the automaker said in its corporate announcement. “This move also will help increase efficiencies across the business in a hypercompetitive, disruptive industry.”

Nissan previously said that its luxury division would move toward becoming an EV-focused brand starting in 2021 — with every subsequent model playing host to a purely electric drivetrain or e-Power hybrid system. However, Infiniti’s introductory electric (based on the Qs Inspiration) was supposed to be produced by and for the Chinese market. That’s something which may no longer stand due to tepid regional interest in the brand’s existing products, adding to the compelling case for Infiniti to move out of China.

Customers can also expect more shared platforms between the brands. While Infiniti will continue operating independently, common vehicle architectures are supposed to become more prevalent in the coming years, reducing part costs and streamlining development. It’s also aimed at bringing up the core brand in terms of technology without skimping on R&D funds for Infiniti. Ultimately, Nissan believes moving its luxury arm back into Japan will be beneficial for all parties.

The automaker says its Hong Kong headquarters houses roughly 180 employees at present, adding that those who can not be relocated to Yokohama will receive some form of assistance.

[Image: Kazick/Shutterstock]

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6 of 9 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 29, 2019

    What parent company? Infiniti is not a separate company - it is just a fancy name for some Nissan (mostly RWD) models for US customers who like fancy names. All Infinitis in Japan are branded as Nissans. Have no idea what mean "HQ in Hong Kong". Is it a marketing division? Because Nissan HQ and R&D are in Yokohama.

    • See 3 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 30, 2019

      Did Cadillac HQ work differently? Cadillac started as a separate company and did not share parts with Buick. I do not mean coffee shop - I understand GM does not make coffee.

  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on May 30, 2019

    "However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand." Corp-speak for: We don't want to pay the rent. For all his faults, though, Johan is smart. He doesn't want to bump into the boss every day and have to explain why his XYZ car division isn't doing well.

  • Bobbysirhan I'd like to look at all of the numbers. The eager sheep don't seem too upset about the $1,800 delta over home charging, suggesting that the total cost is truly obscene. Even spending Biden bucks, I don't need $1,800 of them to buy enough gasoline to cover 15,000 miles a year. Aren't expensive EVs supposed to make up for their initial expense, planet raping resource requirements, and the child slaves in the cobalt mines by saving money on energy? Stupid is as stupid does.
  • Slavuta Civic EX - very competent car. I hate the fact of CVT and small turbo+DI. But it is a good car. Good rear seat. Fix the steering and keep goingBut WRX is just a different planet.
  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters
  • Kwik_Shift Imagine having trying to prove that the temporary loss of steering contributed to your plunging off a cliff or careening through a schoolyard?